How to Approach Customers if Your Work in Retail

How to approach customers in retail sales

A retail business can barely survive or carry on without the presence of customers. Customers, when it comes to retail sales, are a vital part of carrying out the business. In this article, I will show you how to approach customers in retail sales with the aim of closing more sales

Since you cannot do without customers in retail sales, it is vital to learn how to approach customers in retail sales so that you can get them to do what you want and keep on coming back.

An Insight into Retail Sales

People who have worked in retail can testify that the job of retail selling is difficult due to a lot of reasons.

Retail can include bad-tempered customers, weird and bizarre corporate necessity for what you are to put on, and how you are meant to behave when you are in store and also likely stealing.

Above all mentioned, retail acquaintances have to be at their best so that they can sell as many products as they can.

It is important to note that every retail company has their stated guidelines to follow on how to approach and sell to their customers. Meanwhile, approaching customers and initiating a natural and proper conversation that could result in a sale of a product can be a much daunting task than it looks like.

Well, not to worry, that is why we have written this article on how to approach customers in retail sales. Our guide is something that cuts across the universal way of approaching customers in retail sales. When you read this guide, do not also forget the guidelines that your company will list out when you are about to go on the journey of approaching a customer in retail sales.

Since your company is responsible for paying you, you are required to adhere to their instructions, and with the combination of what I will present in this guide, try to implement both ideas for a successful retail sale.

If you are not in a hurry and you are passionate about retail selling, it is only a matter of time that you will become an expert in what you do.


how to approach customers in retail sales
A retail sales associate with a customer at Armani


The steps of how to approach customers in retail sales include:

  1. Study the prospect

Before approaching a customer, you are expected to read and study the room and detect its mood.

Also, attempt to find out the mood of the customers and if the customers present are in an excellent feeling to discuss one on one with a salesperson. If the spirit of the customer present is attractive enough (smiling), then you can make your move and approach the customer.

Let us take, for instance, if a customer is not comfortable and has been staring around the store several, what this indicates is that the customer might be searching for a sales associate like you to look for a product or to ask some questions which they are not sure of possibly.

However, if you have seen that another of your fellow sales associate has offered to assist a customer in whatever they may be looking for, and the customer replies with NO in an angry tone, then it is best you maintain your lane and do not bother to approach the customer to render any form of assistance. Although, there is an objection rebuttal for I am not interested, so you can check if the rebuttal can fit your situation.  

Meanwhile, there are a few companies out there that need you to offer your assistance to each customer you see in the store. If this mode or method applies in your store and your company has a strict policy towards that, you should follow it without questioning or grumbling.

Well, there is no doubt that a majority of customers will politely turn down or reject any form of help you are rendering if they do not need any help.

  1. Offer a Friendly and Polite Greeting

The next step, if you are searching for how to approach customers in retail sales, is to offer a friendly and polite greeting. The first and foremost thing to say to any customer should and must be a warm greeting. 

In most cases, companies do have some particular phrases that you are expected to say when you approach a customer.

Not depending on the words you are going to use, it is essential to smile slowly and give the customer the impression that you are at his service, and you are ready to offer your assistance.

When it comes to the public, a majority of people will give their responses when they have been spoken to, even by someone they do not know. Their manner in their voice when they respond to your friendly and polite greeting is another way to understand their current mood and what they may need then.

If you sense that a customer’s mood is angry and he or she is frustrated, endeavor to make an immediate offer to help. If the customer in question refuses the offer of hand on your side, it is crucial not to persist and slightly, just back off. 

What you are required to do is to move on to another customer and keep on smiling. One important thing to always remember and put into practice is that whenever a customer is rude towards you, never let it get to your head. See it as a regular thing and carry on with other customers by smiling. 

  1. Make Use of Open-Ended Questions

This point comes after the customer must have accepted your offer for assistance in what they are looking for in the store or what they want to ask. Whenever a customer accepts your offer for help, always remember to use open-ended questions so that the conversation can be continuous and so that you can get the best possible detail from the customer. This will also make you serve them better by offering the best services and offering the best help they can get.

Let us take, for example, if a customer is not sure of what he or she is searching for. You can say something like, “Sir/Ma, what brought you into the store today?”, “Are you looking for what to purchase for your loved ones?”When you say this, it is a step you are taking to discover what the customer is looking to purchase or the person they are buying it for.  

Meanwhile, if you proceed to ask close-ended questions like “Do you know what you are searching for?” or “Have you been able to see our newest products of clothes?” The close-ended questions could likely bring to a stop the conversation you are having with the customer as the customer will reply with “I am not interested,” or “NO.”

When approaching a customer in retail sales, it is vital to dodge these likely hindrances in any way possible.

  1. Request for Context

If you notice that a customer is finding it challenging to locate the actual thing they are searching for, you may most likely carry out some detective work.

Take, for instance, if you work in a clothing store, a customer might be searching to buy a whole outfit, possibly for a particular occasion. But if you do not know the specific event, it will not be possible to provide any assistance to the customer.

This is where requesting context comes into play. You should try to ask, “Which occasion are you looking to put on this amazing outfit?” It could be that the customer is looking to grace the occasion of an office party in a week or so. It could also be that the customer wants to look more social than ever before, and they need an outfit that can be effective in more than one setting.

When you ask about this, and the customer provides you with the necessary details, you can then proceed to look for what will fit them best. This is another chance to get added information about the sense of style of your customer. You can also ask the type of cloth they wear to watch a movie, or what they wear to work.

Their modern style of dressing can significantly assist you in making the right suggestion that the customer will like.

  1. Present Multiple Options of Possible Choices

Once you have gotten a clearer idea of the likes and dislikes of what the customer wants and does not want and what they are likely to use the product they are buying for, you can take a moment to show and guide the customer around the store, while showing multiple products of the same kind that they may like.

Do not end by showing them only one option and their only choice to buy. If it is possible, provide more than one possibility at diverse price points and allow them to make their choice.

When you take your time to show the customers multiple options of the same kind of product at diverse price points, the customer will value and be grateful for the effort you have put to them, and they will have the impression that you also value their presence.

If you are a hardworking salesperson, this point should not be difficult to carry out because it is just the normal thing to do in all cases.

  1. Offer a Personal Suggestion

For this point, I will tell you a short story about a positive retail experience I had in the past as a buyer, and the reason why I was overwhelmed and happy with the sales associate.

I wanted to buy a new guitar amplifier, and you know, big-box music stores are popular for selling the most costly option that you can get because they want to earn a very high commission.

Meanwhile, I was discussing with the sales associate, and I told him that I could not spend above a particular price.

The sales associate then showed me different options that best fit my price range. He also informed me that it was not high-quality because of the price I was offering.

When I was cut between choosing two diverse options, he asked if he could make a personal suggestion. Since we have already been discussing the guitar amplifier, I gave him the go-ahead, and I bought the particular model of guitar amplifier he suggested.

Once there is a little connection or flow between the customer and you as a sales associate, a personal suggestion is likely to be the right way to end the deal.

Also, the personal suggestion will provide the opportunity to tell the customer that you want them to like and be happy with what they are buying.



As a sales associate working in retail stores, do not make the mistake of treating your customers like they are just a likely sales waiting to take advantage of.

If you treat them right, they will also see the need to purchase the product they came looking for. This article has clearly explained the steps to take if you are looking for how to approach customers in retail stores.

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